Head Coach: Pat “FITZ” Fitzgerald
Last Year’s Record: 5-7
Key Assistant: DC Mike Hankwitz
Trending: Upward. I love Coach Fitz and would let my son play for him in a heartbeat. He is a great coach and a tremendous person. Last year he had a team that was on the road to being great and after a heartbreak (and controversial) loss to Ohio State they crumbled. It was a classic example of a team letting one loss cost them several. They lose Kain Colter who was no doubt a great player, but I think they are better for it in the locker room and frankly on the field. Colter when healthy split reps with Trevor Siemian who now takes over and they are better for it. Every time I predict greatness for the Cats they make me look bad and when expectations are low they go crazy. With a senior laden team and last year under their belt as a learning experience added with Colter gone, I think they come through in a big way.
Northern Illinois: Win
Western Illinois: Win
At Penn State: Win
At Minnesota: Loss
At Iowa: Loss
At Notre Dame: Loss
At Purdue: Win
Final thoughts: With the vote on unionization (led by Kain Colter) earlier this off season, that had a great chance of fractioning this team. It did not. I certainly did not do a scientific survey of the Cats, but I talked to five players and three voted for the union and two did not. Those results when released could add much more off the field strain on this team. How they deal with that will be a big key to this campaign. I like the leadership of this group, I like the depth of the squad and I like the coaching. This could be a special season in Evanston.